In April, God is giving you a divine invitation to fearlessly connect to those around you. Prodigals are coming home, and the painful wounds of religion are being erased completely and supernaturally. There is grace to boldly embrace mess as you realize it's okay to be in process. This is not the end of your story, and your heart will find rest in the knowledge that God will powerfully redeem the past.
PRODIGALS ARE AT A CROSSROADS
In April, God is beckoning back home those who have turned away from Him. They are arriving at a pivotal crossroads, and will have the choice to choose Him once more. Some have strayed far from their first encounter with His love, and others have not yet tasted the truth of His love for them, but rather have known Him only through the pain of religion. We will define the word “religion” as author Blake Healy does in his book The Veil: religion is trying to achieve through ritual and labor what God wants to give freely through relationship.
These ones have chosen to partner with a way of life that is not the fullness of God. Their detour from the true Way may not even be discernible to most. It may not be that they are living in obvious sin, however, they’ve made a decision in their hearts. So many have picked up the battle and are fighting on their own; they have commandeered the course, and they are no longer allowing God access to their hearts or their lives. For some it has been a gradual undoing, and for others it was a catastrophic wound that set them on this journey by themselves. The wound cut so deeply that they decided in their hearts that God was no longer trustworthy, and that they had to protect themselves. They put up walls to avoid being wounded again. Vulnerability is elusive to them, and yet, so is true and lasting connection.
They are electing to reside in this carnal, counterfeit way of life, and they tell themselves that it’s good, even though they’re broken and hurting; even though what they’re feeding on does not satisfy. They’re tapping into this tiny bit of truth (that they are free), but they won’t let go of the larger counterfeit that is untrue, unfulfilling, and lifeless. They are hungry, but they are feeding on that which is empty. Many are numbing their pain through unhealthy relationships, homosexuality, distractions, diversions, busyness, alcohol, food, drugs, sex, ambition, adventure, or anything else that lessens their pain and keeps them focused on something else. God is patiently waiting for them to return to Him with their pain, for He is the only one who can heal their wounds.
They are reaching a breaking point. The pain is becoming intolerable and too much to bear. The things that they’ve built their life on (that are not rooted in the truth) are starting to crumble. Their relationships, marriages, jobs, finances, and even family connections are beginning to have problems. This transition will be a powerful wake-up call that will draw them back to the Lover of their soul, who is working all things together for their good. As they realize that their counterfeit life is empty, they will finally see that they have a choice to return once more to God. Many will feel that they are not redeemable, and the shame and hopelessness about their situation will weigh them down, but there is always hope. Even their hopelessness can cause them to return to God. There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8.1) and He wants no one to perish (2 Peter 3.9). This time that feels hard right now is only shaping them and drawing them more into their true identity. The fruit of their life at this moment is not the truth of who they were destined to be. The choices they have been making are more of a symptom of their pain than anything else, and the good news is that this is not the end of their story.
God has not lost hope for these returning ones, and all they need to do is call on His name, inviting Him back into their hearts. Romans 10.13 tells us that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Yahweh will be rescued and experience new life” (The Passion Translation). God is pursuing them every single day, and His heart burns for connection with them once more. His kindness will draw them to repentance.
THIS IS NOT THE END OF YOUR STORY
We are all on a journey of becoming the person that God created us to be. Deep within you He placed dreams, gifts, desires, hope, and destiny. Your future was always meant to be a partnership with your Creator. Your own unique story brings to life all that is inside of you, and as you co-labor with the One who knows you better than any other, that story is being refined and perfected, bringing the gift of you to the world. There is always more, and if you are still breathing, then this is not the end of your story. Take heart - we are moving from glory to glory!
CREATED WITH PURPOSEJeremiah 1.5, 10
"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,
Before you were born, I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."
The world is not experiencing the fullness of the kingdom of God yet because not everyone is playing their part. God is pursuing those that are hungry and passionate and walk in high levels of influence. Many of these are called to bring the revelation of the fullness of the Kingdom of God to the world, and to tell the truth of who God really is. It is time for them to return home, and to play their unique role in the kingdom of God. Many that have chosen to harden their hearts towards God are being called to minister the kingdom of God in a powerful way through whatever it is that they do. They possess a unique revelation that can only be cultivated and fully developed in their return to the heart of God. They are powerful and carry much authority. It is time for them to walk out their divine calling. The world will be richer for honoring what they bring.
The dialogue is beginning again between them and God, and there is much grace right now for them to step fully into their anointing, and to no longer be disillusioned by the counterfeit. They will have a choice again, just like they chose before. They will see Jesus looking into their face, recognize Him for the kind God that He’s always been, fall into His arms, see only love in His eyes, and for the first time, experience Him without religion. After so much fighting, angst, and turmoil, it is at this time that their heart will truly be at rest.
MY HEART IS AT REST
Many have been experiencing relational discord: heartbreak, miscommunication, distance and disillusionment. This uneasiness in close relationships has caused anxiety, sadness, and confusion. God is coming in to wipe the slate clean. He is hitting the reset button, so that you may begin again. You will know He's at work because where you had angst, pain and turmoil before, you will now know peace that surpasses understanding. Trust Him in this process, and partner with what God is doing by beginning again from this foundation of rest.
We all are on a journey of becoming all that God created us to be. Each person's journey is different - full of joys, wounds, connections, heartaches, victories, and losses. Your life is a tapestry that tells the story of you, and it is beautiful. When we are able to embrace process and not be afraid of messes, we can be mightily used by God. It takes humility to recognize that you have not yet arrived, and that you never will, but instead choose to view life as an evolving journey of your personal refinement. We are not striving for some pinnacle of perfection, but instead, we can value the process as we are being shaped. We are all being refined by fire and perfected, made more like Him every single day. As we become less rigid and set on perfection, we find our way to approach His throne of grace, eventually extending that grace to others as well as ourselves.
All of us know a prodigal who is choosing to walk a different path. In fact, many of us are weary from contending for their return. Our role during this time of transition is to pray fervently in faith and to become the healthy community they will need as they come home. Many of them have turned from the Church because they’ve been wounded and felt judged. As they emerge from their pain and choose God again, we will need to be firmly rooted in love toward them. God is calling us higher and higher in our commitment to love. We are being called to a place where our love looks like His.
The open arms of love do not feel like judgment, but that doesn’t mean that our love is without boundaries. Good boundaries protect love. An example of what this could look like would be, for example, if your returning one has been using drugs. You can love them where they are, while still calling them higher and into their true identity. You can meet them in the midst of their mess, choosing to love all of them, yet not allow drugs into your home. That is an example of a healthy boundary.
Judgment & condemnation come from fear, and thinking that everyone needs to look the same. We can only move out of this place of judgement when we receive God’s love for us. We can also only love others truly when we receive God’s love for us. The Church is being called to no longer be afraid of messes. Each one of us is in process and is on the journey of becoming who we are called to be. John 8.7 reminds us, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” When we are able to humble ourselves, shun judgement, and receive God’s love for us, it is then that we will be the healthy community our lost ones need.
Stand in faith this month as God is moving in the circumstances and hearts of our returning ones. Pray fervently as God is calling them home. Ask God for truth for them as you pray, and come into agreement with what He speaks. Your prayers are powerful and effective. They will be drawn back by the love that they feel from you and the love that they feel from God. It is time to fearlessly pursue connection with them, and to surround them with love of the Father.
We at The Crowning Jewels believe in the absolute transformational power of declarations. We know that truth comes by hearing (Romans 10.17), and that speaking truth is a way to renew our minds (Romans 12.2). We also believe that in speaking forth these declarations, you will change your life. We invite you to partner with what God is doing, and say these declarations for the remainder of the month. We would love to hear what God does! Please email us your testimony at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- God is restoring all that’s been lost.
- There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
- We stand in love, full of faith, awaiting our prodigals' return.
- It is time to come home.
- Christ’s blood paid for everything.
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Written by Anne E. Ballard